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EPA Proposes New Reporting Requirements for CAFOs
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ) has published a proposed rule concerning reporting requirements for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Some large horse facilities, such as racetracks, training facilities, stables, shows, exhibitions, and fairgrounds are considered CAFOs and could be subject to the proposed reporting requirements. Most horse farms, ranches, stables and shows are not considered CAFOs. The proposed rule does not change current EPA regulations concerning what constitutes a CAFO or permitting requirements, it only involves new information submission requirements.
The proposed regulations can be viewed here.
EPA regulations concerning the Cleaning Water Act are very complex. No horse operation that maybe be considered a CAFO should rely on this WashingtonUpdate to understand what is being proposed and what their obligations under current law and regulations maybe. Owners and operators of any horse facility, be it a breeding farm, ranch, training facility, stable, race track, sale, horse show, fair or exhibition, should seek competent advice to ensure their fac ilities are in compliance withcurrent EPA regulations and how any proposed regulatory changes could impact their operation.
The EPA's stated purpose for the proposed rule is that it lacks basic information about most CAFOs. The EPA is proposing two options for collecting information.
Option one would require all large and medium CAFOs t o submit the following information to the EPA;
- The name and contact information of the owner or authorized representative of the CAFO.
- The location of the CAFO.
- Whether or not the CAFO currently has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and the permit number if the CAFO does
- The type and number of animals confined at the CAFO for the previous 12 months.
- Where the CAFO applies manure, litter and process wastewater and the total number of acres under the control of the CAFO available for land application.
CAFOs would submit this information through a survey form provided by the EPA. This option would exempt CAFO located in states that already collect this information through an approved NPDES program and chooses to provide the EPA with that information.
Option two would only require CAFOs to complete asurvey form if they are located in focus watersheds that the EPA has determined to have water quality concernsassociated with CAFOs.
A horse operation could be considered a CAFO if it keeps or raises horses in "confinement" for at least 45 days in a 12-month period and there is no grass or other vegetation in the confinement area during the normal growing season. The areas associated with confinement at horse facilities include the stables and "production area," which is the area where the horses are housed and manure is stored. Such area includes stables, stalls, walkers and walkways; it does not include pastures, paddocks or similar unconfined areas. Additionally, current regulations have athreshold number of horses for determining if a horse operation is a CAFO.
- A facility is considered a large CAFO if it confines500 or more horses for 45 days in a 12 month period.
- A facility is a medium CAFO if it confines 150 to 499 horses and (1) the facility discharges pollutants into U.S. waters through a man-made ditch, flushing system or other similar device; or (2) the horses come into direct contact with surface waters running through the area where they are confined.
- Operations with less than 150 horses are generally not considered CAFO unless specifically designated as such on a case by case basis.
The EPA is seeking comments on the proposed rule including the preferred option for reporting information, the ability of CAFOs to provide the requested information,or any other comments. The deadline to submit comments is December 20, 2011.
Please contact the AHC with any questions.